A call from the David Letterman show doesn’t mean tickets: Be prepared

When the David Letterman show called me on my cell phone yesterday evening, I was in a shuttle van after attending a party at Gordon Gee’s house. Gee, the president of The Ohio State University was hosting a lovely gathering for Fred Anderle, a local public radio talk show personality who has just retired.

When the phone rang, I was intent on making it to the national touring company’s production of A Chorus Line at the Ohio Theatre, not at all ready for a call from the engaging fellow who called to tell me that I had a chance for those tickets I so wanted.

I had a chance for tickets until I blew it. Here’s what happened. Hopefully, you will not find yourself disappointed and left empty handed as I am.

Engaging fellow: “Are you Jamie Rhein?”

Me: “Why, yes.” (No one calls me on my cell phone except a couple of people. This wasn’t one of those people.)

E.F.: “This is the David Letterman show. You put in for tickets for next Monday or Tuesday.”

M: “That’s right. Any chance for Wednesday, though?”

E.F: “You can’t come Monday or Tuesday?”

M: “I won’t arrive by bus (I love Greyhound) until Wednesday morning.” (My plans have changed since I put in for those tickets.

E.F: “Maybe. First you have to answer a trivia question.”

And there was the problem. Even though I do watch Letterman, I didn’t know the answer to the trivia question. It involved knowing one of the jobs of a staff person that the engaging fellow mentioned. I can’t even remember the name of the staff person he said. See what I’m up against? I know it wasn’t the guy who holds the cue cards, or the big guy who comes out on stage and says he is other people.

Even though you’re only supposed to give one answer, I called out a few just in case. The engaging fellow told me that I might be able to get tickets the day of the show if I come to the studio between 9 and 12 a.m. The tickets are not a guarantee, but I know a friend of mine who snagged tickets this way last year.

As a note, if you come before 9 you’re disqualified. Here are more details for what you need to know about getting tickets. Standby tickets are also an option. From what I can tell, there’s none of the hiring someone to wait in line for you that happens at the Delacorte Theater for Shakespeare in the Park.

Before we hung up, I did try to prove that I am indeed a Letterman fan by mentioning the mug I have from Rupert Jee’s Hello Deli, an actual place located downstairs in the CBS building where I also bought Explod-O-Pop Popcorn, AND that I’ve been to Choteau, Montana where Letterman got married AND that I have written about it along with other Letterman related travel bits. The engaging fellow said he would try to pass the information on to Letterman. I’m not holding my breath.

Here’s an unusual connection, however. Yesterday I was talking with someone who looks A LOT like David Letterman. He said he ran into Biff Henderson outside the Hello Deli once and Biff Henderson even commented on how much the man looks like David Letterman.

I’ll try again for those tickets. This is the second time I got a call. The first time was last year and I couldn’t go. I wasn’t home when the call came. Third time’s a charm, right? There is always heading down to the studio to try my luck. I can’t do a stupid Human Trick, and our dog will only sit when we say “sit” so being part of the show’s entertainment is out.

In case you want to try for tickets the way I did, put in for them on Letterman’s website. I think I filled out the form a couple months ago. You can put in for three dates in a row. If I knew the answer to the question, I probably would have been able to get a ticket for that Wednesday, but maybe not.

At least I have A Chorus Line songs running through my head to heal my disappointment. “Kiss today goodbye, and point me towards tomorrow…”

Gadling Take FIVE: Week of March 21 –March 28

I’m psyched. As soon as I set this puppy to post, I’m heading to Cleveland to go to the Cleveland International Film Festival where I’ll meet up with Brook Silva-Braga for the showing of his film A Day in Africa. There’s also a load of stuff going on to commemorate the inductions at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It’s been busy around here at Gadling as well. Kent has been posting about his Competitours Race in Europe, Aaron is posting about his Heathen in the Holy Land experiences which includes why wearing stripes is a good thing. For anyone who wants to be a flight attendant, Heather has the scoop on that . And Karen, with her artist’s eye, tells about color in photography. Her post is gorgeous.

Here are six more.

Great American road trip: Choteau, Montana, Letterman’s hangout is a gem of a town

Choteau, Montana where David Letterman married last week at the county courthouse is a gem of a town–the type of off-the beaten-track that beckons people who might be passing through to pull into a parking lot and stay awhile.

When we were on our Great American Road Trip to Montana and back last summer, we pulled into the parking lot of the Old Trail Museum for just “45 minutes” and stuck around for three hours with thoughts of returning some day. This was after staying with friends who live near the base of the Rockies twenty miles from town.

The Old Trail Museum is one of those types that tell unusual tales of western life. There’s the noose that was used for the last hanging in Choteau, for example. I hadn’t seen an actual noose used in an actual hanging before. It catches your attention. The noose is in a display with other artifacts and details about the murder that sent the guy to the gallows.

There are also exhibits about Native Americans, cattle ranching, medical care and whatever else you can think of that has to do with life in the west. One gallery is dedicated to the dinosaurs that once roamed the region.

Along with the main museum are other buildings with a variety of themes. There’s the taxidermy grizzly bear, the cabin dedicated to a Danish pioneer family and an art studio of a prominent Montana artist. I could have spent hours here poking around.

The museum also a great place to pick up books with a Montana theme. Fiction, non-fiction and kids’ fare fill shelves in the gift shop. Here you can buy items made by Blackfoot Indians who live in the state. I went a little nuts with the buying–a problem of mine. But, then again, anything one can do to keep the economy following.

We also helped the economy flow at Alpine Touch, across the street from the museum. Alpine Touch is a brand of specialty spices made in Choteau. While we were buying bottles of the Lite All-Purpose Seasoning, we tossed in several bottles of huckleberry body lotion and huckleberry jelly–also Montana-made.

Chances are, you won’t run into Letterman if you head to Choteau, although people have seen him there. The saucy older woman who is a volunteer at the visitor center mentioned giving him a chuckle when she let Letterman know that he is on too late for her to really know who he is. Who cares who Letterman is was her take, although she did offer that he has been very kind and generous to Choteau.

The great thing about places like Choteau is that it doesn’t matter who you are, you can have the same great glorious time whether you don’t have more than a few nickels to rub together, or you’re a millionaire.

That’s one of the things I thought of when we spent an afternoon wandering around in Sun River Canyon located in the Lewis and Clark National Forest with the brilliant blue sky overhead. Hiking along the trails is free. You can pick up trail maps at the Rocky Mountain Ranger District Trail office in town. We were lucky enough to come across a beaver just as it ducked into a stream to head to its dam.

Before we left Choteau, we would have shopped more, although we did have just enough time to grab some ice cream at the ice-cream shop that’s part of the museum complex. It cost more than a nickel, but it didn’t break the bank.

For anyone looking for a low key fun place to go with families, consider here. It’s only 50 miles from Great Falls, another Montana destination I’d like to have more time for one of these days. One place you might consider staying is the JJJ Wilderness Ranch. We walked around the grounds hoping to snag a horseback ride, but you have to be a paying guest. Next time we’re in Choteau, I’m finding a horse.

Woman smuggled monkey into the U.S. from Thailand under her shirt

Not long ago,a woman was arrested in New Zealand for trying to smuggle three banana plants in her underwear. Here’s another smuggling story, but this woman almost got away with it.

In November 2007, the woman, looking to make money, smuggled a rhesus monkey into the U.S. from Thailand. She wasn’t arrested right then. Instead, she breezed right through U.S. customs without anyone noticing that she wasn’t pregnant at all, but had a drugged furry cutie tucked under her shirt.

Later, feeling pleased as punch with herself, she told a clothing store clerk about her escapade. The store clerk snitched.

Two days ago, the woman, along with her mother who went along to Bangkok for the heist, were found guilty of smuggling and conspiracy and will be sentenced in March.

I heard about this story on David Letterman last night. Letterman, in his sardonic way, embellished a bit. There were comments about no one noticing when, on the airplane, the woman started putting a banana down her shirt and a small hairy arm reached up to grab more. The joke went something like that. Intrigued, I looked up the story and came up with this article in Mail OnLine.

The article mentioned two other foiled attempts at animal smuggling that have recently earned one smuggler a conviction and jail time, and the other one an arrest that is still pending a trial.

The South African man, who was smuggling chameleons, snakes, lizards, and other rare critters that don’t sound easy to put under a jacket, was given a year in jail. He was trying to get them out of Madagascar. Perhaps the jacket was moving?

Another guy was caught with animals in his clothing and luggage in November. That guy is a zoology student. Perhaps he was obsessed with getting an A on a project that would really wow one of his instructors.

Russell Brand’s account of not being allowed in the U.S.

Admittedly, Russell Brand, the British comedian and actor, probably best known in the U.S. for his role as Aldous Snow, a rock star in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall, can go a bit over the top with his humor.

Because he will be hosting the MTV Video Music Awards tonight, he is on U.S. entertainment radar again. However, it’s an earlier appearance on David Letterman in May that caught my attention.

This account of why he missed his first scheduled appearance on David Letterman pokes a bit of fun at U.S. immigration without being anti-American. According to him, Brand wasn’t allowed back in the U.S. after a trip to Britain to promote the movie because of his past record. Although he doesn’t specifically state his past problems, they have to do with drug issues for which he has had treatment.

Basically, Brand’s hilarious style of story-telling captures an interesting cast of players and circumstances at U.S. immigration. I do think he’s embellishing, but it’s funny. For example, he describes a Gambian man wearing an American flag tie under going questioning and hones in on the stereotypes of people who look suspicious.

Brand never does say how he cleared his record to be allowed back into the U.S. after being sent back to Great Britain.

When Brand was in the U.S. filming Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he probably had a work visa which would be different from the type of visa he would have to make talk show appearances. That’s my assumption.

It just seems odd he would have been granted a visa for one circumstance and denied entry for another. However, Brand is not that well known–yet, so perhaps the immigration officers didn’t believe him. That’s also what Brand conjectured. Since he is a comedian, who can be sure of the truth and what makes for good entertainment?

There is a funny part at the end of the interview when he talks about what it was like to be in Hawaii during the filming of Sarah Marshall. Being in paradise too long is like “being hit over the head with a rainbow.”